Preptober is here the countdown to Nanowrimo

Tea for NaNoWriMo

October is halfway through and NaNoWriMo is creeping closer. I can’t believe it is that time of year again but the pumpkins are lined up ready for Halloween so it must be. I have that familiar rush of excitement I feel when a new project is forming. Yes, instead of ploughing on with The Ellfaenian Journals I am using Preptober to plan a new WIP. It has been brewing for a long time but it is time to do it. Based on my favourite character, Willow Anderson from the journals I can’t wait to tell her story.

Inspired by a teacup and prompt from my local writing group, she has evolved from a small player to a fully formed personality influencing my life. After all, if you are researching tea you have to try them. I have become obsessed with teacups and saucers while my hubby has discovered the joy of loose leaf tea again. Our (or should I say his) teapot collection has bloomed in recent weeks. Every time he goes to a car-boot he comes back with a bargain. I am a colour magpie and attracted to all things bright but brown Betty teapots make glorious cuppas bordering on perfection. They have converted me to love them. Expect more tea related posts as Willow, a witch from Whitby gets further into my head. She loves the stuff.

My characters are waiting for November to begin while my Pinterest boards are flowing with inspirational settings. Unlike before where I planned the plot to the nth degree, I aim to be more fluid and go with the flow; an experiment to see which style works. It is also a different genre, romance so wish me luck. I will need it.

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Happy writing!

Time slipping by

Where is time going? I need a pause button to catch up and my hand to stop screaming every time I touch a keyboard or hold phone for my than 5 minutes.

Word count for WIP in minus figures due to editing for 2 competitions. The standards will exceed my capability but I will try all the same.

 

#feelingdisheartened #beingslow #painwinning

P.S Dear Universe,

A winning scratchcard would be wonderful!  I need to buy new laptop and updated Dragon – my current one is screeching under the strain of running more than one program. It matches by writing speed.

Thanks

 

Dystonia: The Curse of Writer’s Cramp

Dystonia; a writer's curse

Everyone has heard or felt ‘writer’s cramp’. The constant moans of it were prevalent in exam season when I was growing up after writing streams of revision notes and hours worth of exams. The pain, cramp, and stiffness from clutching the pen too tight through fear of running out of time; the overwhelming desire to stretch the muscles from their clenched position to relieve the tense muscles. What many do not know is writer’s cramp is a form of dystonia and for a writer, it is a curse with no cure.

I have a rare form of dystonia which has become generalised and affects every muscle it can think of, including my hands.  In honour of  Dystonia Awareness Week here in the UK, I am coming out of hiding to highlight the debilitating condition of writers cramp because as its name suggests it affect writers.

 What is dystonia?

Mention dystonia and many people will scratch their heads because they have never heard of it affects 70,000 people in the UK. It is a neurological condition that causes muscles to spasm uncontrollably.

How does writers cramp fit in?

Writers cramp is a form of focal dystonia affecting the hands and is task-specific so it only happens when writing. Musicians can also suffer from focal hand dystonia because of the long periods they practice and play their musical instrument.

Writing becomes difficult because the pen is gripped too hard, the hand clenches tight or the fingers extend so a pen cannot be held properly or the wrist twists in ways you do not think possible. The more you write the worse it gets and the words become illegible. My writing can turn from relatively normal to a scrawl worthy of any doctor in a paragraph or sentence. It conflicts with my love of stationery and beautiful notebooks; I have endless notebooks I will never fill and pens I will hardly use.

It can be caused by

  • overuse of the hand
  • poor posture when writing
  • holding the pen incorrectly
  • or like in my case, part of a more generalised dystonia.

 

Awareness is key to get prompt diagnosis and treatment. There is no cure for writer’s cramp but it can be helped by retraining the brain to write, botox injections or medication.

Luckily we live in a world where technology is readily available so we have access to keyboards and if all else fails, voice recognition. My experience with that can be read here. Writer’s can continue practicing their craft but for me, there is nothing quite as free as letting creativity flow through the use of a pen on paper.

More information can be found on Writer’s cramp here

Happy writing, however, you do it!

Information from my own experience and The Dystonia Society UK.

 

Accountability and all that Jazz Part One

 

 

Word count accocuntability
Word count at 9am 21st March 2018

 

 

Let the challenge begin

Inspired by the challenge Viola Bleu has set herself in her post below and the conversation we had after we have teamed up this morning to see if we can improve our word count for our WIPs.

The kettle is on and provisions are at hand let the art of self-discipline begin!

 

Motivational post by Viola Bleu


Today I’ve really been thinking hard about the astonishing word count I’ve managed to notch up blogging since I started. WordPress, as you know, has the clever ability to show us our stats at any given moment and I have become slightly addicted to watching the numbers grow. In 2018 alone I have typed over […]

via I lost my self-discipline, but found 34,000 words — Ideas.Become.Words

Writing Slumps and a Little Gem of a Book

Yesterday was a bad day.  My intentions of having a productive day fell apart rapidly. After reading my previous attempts at writing the beginning of my current WIP my confidence shattered. I have been struggling with where to start the novel for ages so I have focussed on other scenes but the beginning needed to be tackled.  I could not translate the visions in my mind on to the page, the writing did not flow, and I struggled to find the best place to start so the reader is hooked. I closed the tab and reread some blog posts I had written the night before. They also did not work. Self-analysis kicked in, comparing myself with the productivity and talent of others and self-doubt took hold. I began to question

  • The wisdom of self-hosting my new blog instead of remaining in the free away from WordPress platform. I miss the interaction with others and the sense of community. My followers plummeted since the move.
  • My writing ability
  • Productivity – I am so slow compared to others
  • My ability to balance writing, ambition and family life

 

I was ready to click the delete button.

But then I logged on to my favourite facebook writers group and blurted out my feelings. It was not long before I received support, commiserations, and advice. This helped so much. Never underestimate the power of the support in online groups and friends. They get you through bad days.  After a good old fashioned cry, door slamming and consuming vast amounts of Jelly Tots and Yorkshire tea I began to feel better.

I also opened a book I had wished for on NetGalley, Old English Medical Remedy by Sinead Spearing. Thank you, Pen and Sword for granting my wish.  It was different to what I was expecting but it is a perfect gem of a book which would make the old witches of Ellfaen clap their hands in glee. It is full of information, remedies, and beliefs of 9th Century and it gave me my spark back.

Today I am back on my PC  in my writing space that I had to vacate over  Christmas for visitors and back to writing.

 

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Thank you to all my online friends and fellow writers!

 

Thank you very much to Mai Taylor,  Viola Bleu, Kiltie Jackson and others I don’t know your blogs – yet!

How do you get over writing slumps?

Happy writing!